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Man who paid to keep Mount Rushmore lights on during mid-'90s federal government shutdown dies

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 1995 file photo, headlights and tailights round the last s-curve to and from Mount Rushmore National Monument near Keystone, S.D., while the monument stays illuminated by the park's flood lights. Arthur Oakes, of Keystone, who drew national attention in the mid-1990s when he paid to keep the lights on at Mount Rushmore during a federal government shutdown, died Monday, May 5, 2014, after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Johnny Sundby, File)

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FILE - In this Sept. 19, 1995 file photo, headlights and tailights round the last s-curve to and from Mount Rushmore National Monument near Keystone, S.D., while the monument stays illuminated by the park's flood lights. Arthur Oakes, of Keystone, who drew national attention in the mid-1990s when he paid to keep the lights on at Mount Rushmore during a federal government shutdown, died Monday, May 5, 2014, after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Johnny Sundby, File)

KEYSTONE, S.D. - A South Dakota man who drew national attention in the mid-1990s when he paid to keep the lights on at Mount Rushmore National Memorial during a federal government shutdown has died.

Arthur Oakes, of Keystone, died Monday after a two-year fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

Oakes wrote a check for $240 in late 1995 to keep the stone-carved faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt illuminated for a week.

Marilyn Oakes says her husband who was politically active throughout his life wanted to show that ordinary people can make a difference. She says she did not object when he took the money out of their meagre family travel budget.

A funeral is planned for Saturday.

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